A patented robot by Facebook could one day follow you around at home. Your Instagram pics will be taken by the robot too without you even knowing. Facebook has already patented the self-balancing robot which was unveiled this week. The robot is able to stand on either three or two wheels, and it has a screen, a camera, and a microphone. It also has an internal cooling system for controlling the temperature and it’s capable of carrying cargo.
Although Facebook has not yet said what it intends to do with the robot, its applications could be vast. For instance, the self-balancing telepresence robot can be used for video conferencing. This will be a huge addition to Facebook’s video call feature that was launched on Messenger in 2015. With such a robot, you won’t need to sit in one place to video chat. The robot can follow you around as you do other things without having to stop the conversation.
However, even though Facebook has already patented the robot, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the company is interested in pursuing the product. Companies patent different products all the time and they don’t make all of them a reality. This latest patent was filed by an employee who used to work for a telepresence robotics company.
Besides, these types of robots have often been considered niche products. They are very expensive to make and it’s very hard to see how they can become a mass market product. Nonetheless, the robot could stake a claim in the growing home robots industry.
Silicon Valley companies have already invested massively in developing home robots and innovative new robotic technologies are already hitting the market. For example, Mayfield Robotics, a company based in Silicon Valley, has already started to take pre-orders for a new home robot called Kuri. The robot operates on wheels and has the ability to move around taking photos and videos. However, it will be selling for $899.
Despite all these developments, there are still several privacy issues that could be raised. After all, not too many people will be okay with the idea of having a robot at home moving around taking photos and recording videos randomly. In an era where Facebook and other major tech companies have been accused of impropriety in collecting and using personal data, it will be a tough sell to convince people that the robot will not affect their privacy.
Many experts believe though that the acceptability of such robots could be widespread if their applications are expanded beyond the house. For example, multiple Facebook robots can be used to broadcast live amateur sports events on Facebook Live. Robotics experts believe that Facebook has always been a platform to share stories and it would be better if such robots are used for this intention. However, there are still a lot of positive robot applications at home too, and many robotics companies are looking to explore them in the future.